Sustainability, ecology and energy efficiency are the words you hear these days more often. In the field of civil construction these three appellations can be included into one simple word – timber. Timber has been used as a building material for thousands of years. The chemical properties of wood are inherently complex, but nevertheless, human beings have successfully harnessed the unique characteristics of wood to build a seemingly unlimited variety of structures.
Wood is a natural resource, making it readily available and economically feasible. It is remarkably strong in relation to its weight, and it provides good insulation from the cold. Wood is also the perfect example of an environmentally sustainable product; it is biodegradable and renewable, and carries the lowest carbon footprint of any comparable building material.
Wooden architecture in Riga is unique, because it has been developing and improving for many years. A century ago in Latvia’s capital city there were approximately 12,000 wooden buildings from which only 4000 remained until these days. It is important to point out that the oldest Rigas’ wooden buildings were built at the end of the 18th century.
We believe that Latvian craftsmen knowledge in timber as a construction material has deep roots into our history dated back to ancient times and is inherited from our ancestors. The summer school «Riga – the Pearl of Latvian Wooden Architecture» links Latvian craftsmen know-how and RTU professors’ attainment into the field of architecture. Combination of those two worlds will result in an intensive two-week summer school where participants are able to gain new knowledge regarding wood as a construction material.
The course aim is to increase participants’ knowledge about the use and properties of wood as a material in architecture, emphasizing its advantages and also increasing awareness of the wooden architecture of Latvia.